British hip-hop / spoken word duo Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip (Dan Stephens and David Meads, respectively) have played the Coachella Valley and South by Southwest music festivals but have visited very few other American venues. They'll make their San Diego debut when they appear at UCSD's new venue, The Loft, on Sept. 28.“We're really looking forward to it,” Pip told CityBeat from their first tour stop in Colorado. “We enjoy all of the festivals, but it will be great to visit all of these new places and do our own shows.”
Having secured stateside distribution for their debut release, Angles, with Sage Francis' Strange Famous records, the pair couldn't be happier.
“It's mad,” laughs Pip. “We were looking for a label in the U.S. and have been fans of Sage for years. It was all done through a few conversations on e-mail. It really shouldn't be that easy, but it was.”
The pair has enjoyed almost instantaneous success due to the explosion of their satirical rant single “Thou Shalt Always Kill” on both MySpace and YouTube.
“We only have one night off in a run of over 20,” says Pip. “It's gonna be an intense run of shows.”
After stops in Chicago, Boston, New York and Toronto, the duo will be the inaugural music performers at The Loft.
“It's far more than just a music venue,” says Loft curator Elizabeth Bradshaw. “We're really aiming for this to be a true interdisciplinary space that can feature many different kinds of performances and events.”
The Loft—which was designed by Bells & Whistles, the San Diego studio responsible for the look of the Starlite and Aubergine lounges, as well as Disconnected Salon—will also host the San Diego Asian Film Festival Selects on Sept. 29. The venue's programmed through Oct. 30, when it'll feature a performance from San Francisco pop-hipsters The Morning Benders. In between the two are opera, a mixed-media installation, animation, comedy with Upright Citizens Brigade and music from the likes of Bitter:Sweet and Dengue Fever.
A few events will be exclusive to university students, but most performances will be open to the public. Ticket prices will be kept low in hopes of encouraging patrons to come to as many events as possible. In January, The Loft will expand to be fully functional with a wine bar and a restaurant.
The venue will feature three different capacity configurations, ranging from a cabaret that will accommodate 145 patrons to a standing-room-only setup—used for most music performances—that will hold 235.
The intimacy of the all-ages venue should generate a lot of excitement, especially when bigger acts are announced, like Rogue Wave, who'll play The Loft later this year.
“We certainly hope,” Bradshaw says, “that the way it is configured inspires the artists who perform there. Ultimately, we want it to trigger conversations.”
Whether or not Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip will be inspired remains to be seen, but regardless, The Loft seems poised to assume its place in San Diego's art scene. For more on The Loft and the rest of UCSD's music and arts programming, visit www.artpwr.com.
Music on sex: The New West Electronic Arts and Music Organization (NWEAMO) is putting its 10th hash mark on the ol' bedpost, celebrating a decade of underground existence with a theme that's bound to get even mainstreamers' attention—sex. On Oct. 3 and 4, at the Smith Recital Hall at SDSU, NWEAMO will present local and international electro-acoustic and multi-media musicians and composers in an avant-garde and experimental exploration of gender issues, aesthetics, politics, sexual norms and perversions, rituals, taboos, stereotypes and more. $8-$12. www.nweamo.org or 619-303-1509.
Deadheads drum: The Global Drum Project is a blast from the hippie past. Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart will, for the first time in nearly a decade, sit down in a drum circle with fellow percussionists Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju and Giovanni Hidalgo for a worldwide tour that marks the 15th anniversary of the group's Planet Drum album. The world-beat sounds the drummers create will remind you of a time when people had the patience to listen to a good, long jam session. The Global Drum Project kicks off Lyric Opera San Diego's “Premiere Concert Series,” at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, at the Stephen and Mary Birch North Park Theatre, 2891 University Ave. $30-$40. www.lyricoperasandiego.org, 619-231-5714.
King of country: Whether you realize it or not, you like Kris Kristofferson. Ever heard of a little ditty called “Me and Bobby McGee”? Sure, it's most likely Janis Joplin's voice that resonates into your head, but it was Kristofferson who helped pen that masterpiece. At 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, you have the opportunity to hear Kristofferson perform acoustic versions of his songs that we didn't know we knew, plus hear the living legend relate anecdotes from his life on the road with the likes of Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. An Evening with Kris Kristofferson kicks off the “Professional Performance Series” at The Poway Center for the Performing Arts, 15498 Espola Road. $45. www.powayarts.org, 858-748-0505.
Straight from Jamaica, man: The WorldBeat Cultural Center continues to be the best source of live reggae in the San Diego/Tijuana region. If you like to get down to the Rasta sounds of ska and reggae, the Center's pretty much got you covered every week, sometimes twice or three times a week. But if you're not a regular WorldBeat follower, at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, you should give it a go for a live show featuring The Skatalites, a Jamaican group that helped pioneer the fusion of boogie-woogie, blues, R&B, jazz, and African rhythms to create the mellow brass-heavy sounds of ska. www.worldbeatcenter.org, 619-230-1190.
The cooler side of classical: In case you've already forgotten, Steven Schick was named music director of the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus last year. Schick's an experimental percussionist and professor at UCSD, so what that means for us non-classical-music listeners is this: Schick will continue the tradition of leading performances of works by great composers like Brahms and Smetana, but he'll throw in experimental and edgy surprises, like a piece by contemporary Japanese avant-garde composer Toru Takemitsu, and a guest appearance by his own percussion ensemble, red fish blue fish. It all happens at the La Jolla Symphony's season opener Nov. 1 and 2, at the Mandeville Center on UCSD campus. Check www.lajollasymphony.com or call 858-534-4637 for times and ticket prices.